Friday, 18 November 2016

Weaving Day School with Jenny Blair

We had very enjoyable day with Jenny learning how to weave on a simple loom. Jenny brought looms for us to use, and also brought her own lovely selection of wools and textiles for us to use. All we had to bring was a pair of scissors - what a luxury not to have to pack bags of stuff to take along (I always take too much and never use it!). The first photos below shows some of Jenny's work and the wools she brought along.

Jenny showed us how to set up the loom with the warp threads of dishcloth cotton, then we chose a some wool and started with a few rows of simple weaving. Over this we learned how to make tassels, a very simple and satisfying procedure. The we selected our own colour schemes and textures, and began to weave our pieces. Using Jenny's materials was very liberating as it stopped us fussing over what to use from our own stashes. We learned some new stitches, one of which looked like knitted fabric (can't remember the name unfortunately), a loop stitch formed over dowel wood, and how to make shape and gaps in the weave. It was unusually quiet - everyone was concentrating hard and working furiously to try and get finished before the day ended and the work had to come off the loom.  Then Jenny showed us how to tie off and finish the piece and gave us a strip of wood so that we could hang our masterpieces. Everyone enjoyed the day immensely, I loved using the slubbed and sparkly wool to make textures and contrasts, and it was very satisfying to go home with a finished item of work. I shall be getting the DIY man of the house to knock up a frame for me and will definitely be trying this at home. Here are some of the member's weavings.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Recycled Tins and Textiles with Philippa Johnston

This year has seen us having our stitching boundaries stretched by having speakers from other disciplines showcasing their working and sparking new ideas. Philippa Johnston's talk certainly did that with her work in recycled tin. Philippa has an array of tools with which she cuts up old sweetie tins and the like, and creates imaginative sculptures and jewellery out of them, incorporating the painted designs on the tins as part of the art. Some of the items had a distinct textile look, while others looked like sculptures or castings. Many were whimsical and brought a smile to the face, like the stitched teapot. As one member said, we'll never look at old sweetie tins in the same way again!
Philippa's website is

Christmas tree ornaments from sweetie tins

'Recycled' mouse

Mementos from stitched tin

Golden retriever

Beaten lantern

Stitched teapot

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Reverse Applique with Morga Gray

A recent day school with Morag Gray on Reverse Applique was enjoyed by some of our members, who have kindly sent me photos of their work, as I was unable to attend as I was away. Looks like I missed an interesting and exciting day!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

'Design and Embellishment' by Maggie Moffat

Maggie Moffat wears two hats, and very beautiful her hats are too! Part of the time she is a piano teacher, and her alter ego makes stunning costumes for theatrical productions.  Maggie has a masters degree, and brought her exquisite sketchbooks along, full of incredibly neat and detailed drawings, showing where her inspiration comes from, and how she develops the ideas for the fantastical costumes she designs. She had brought along some of the garments which had been worn in a production about Edward Lear, a gorgeous turquoise and sea foam coloured floaty gown for the Jumblie who went to Sea in a Sieve, complete with cloak and hat. There was a stunning sexy autumn and black dress for the wicked stepmother in Snow White, complete with antlers and leafy hat. The hats were to die for, I do mourn the passing of the extravagant Edwardian hats, would just love to wear them, and Maggie's hats certainly fed that desire. A gorgeous pink striped gown was one based on Lust from a show of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Maggie loves texture, and every surface of her work was embellished heavily with embroidery, beads, lace and clever use of unusual materials for effects. It was very exciting to see the journey from the lovely drawings to the stunning and whimsical costumes, and made us think how far we could take our textile art with a bit of imagination and experimentation.

Maggie's degree sketchbook

Four photos of the Wicked Stepmother's Gorgeous Autumn dress and head dress

Working out ideas and textures

the Jumblie's Cloak

'Lust' from the Seven Deadly Sins

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Inverkeilor Art Exhibition

Three of our members will be participating in this upcoming exhibition, so come along for some lovely exhibits and home baking.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A Journey in Design

Textile artist Margaret Stanford took us on an illuminating journey through the creation of a piece of textile work from the original idea to the finished item. She wishes to create a unique handmade book for her sister, soon to retire, and who had taken up felting as a hobby. The book was to be a resource of her samples and inspirations. Margaret made up the signatures for the book to include pockets for her sister's work. The cover and binding took much longer however. Margaret started with photos of dogwood, beautiful red leaves and stems. She played with these in Photoshop, creating a variety of effects. These pictures led on to experiments with charcoal, oil pastels, coloured pencils and various papers to work out compositions and textures. She made leaf stencils, printed on fabrics, stitched and quilted to try out her ideas. She made leaves out of silk paper, and end papers with gouache and cling film. Eventually it all came together in a delightful and original book, which her sister will be bound to treasure and fill with her own ideas. It was fascinating seeing the steps from idea to completion and the pathways the creative mind takes to achieve something beautiful.

Isolating part of a photo of dogwood

Manipulating in Photoshop

Trying out ideas in paper and paint

Making silk paper leaves

A sample with stencils and quilting

The finished cover

The lovely end papers

Signatures with pockets

More of Margaret's work can be seen at her website

Friday, 16 September 2016

Meg's Magnificent Ginger Tiffin

As Meg has received many requests for her recipe for the gorgeous ginger tiffin, we are putting it on the blog for you to copy, and bake. Enjoy!

Ginger Tiffin
300g Ginger nut biscuits(1 packet)
100g margarine
300g white chocolate(3 bars)
50g coconut+ more to sprinkle on top
50g chopped mixed nuts
50g chopped dried cranberries (or cherries)
2 tablespoons syrup
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Prepare baking tray (Swiss roll type) by greasing and lining with greaseproof paper.
Crush biscuits until powder (I use food processor). Place in bowl. Add coconut, nuts and cranberries to bowl. Mix together.
In saucepan, melt margarine. Add syrup and 150g of chocolate.
Melt slowly.  Add ground ginger and mix together.
Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in bowl. Mix thoroughly together.
Empty onto greased/papered baking tray. Press down evenly. Allow to cool then place in fridge for two hours. Tiffin should then be solid. Remove from fridge.
Melt remainder of white chocolate in bowl over hot water. Spread over Tiffin. Sprinkle with coconut (if desired).
Allow chocolate to harden then cut Tiffin into squares.


Talk by Aileen Ogilvie - “My Journey with Glass”

Wednesday 14th September saw our new session first talk by Aileen Ogilvie about her career in making stained glass. Aileen explained how she had started in this demanding discipline, mainly working to commission. She showed how the panels of glass are constructed, how the beautiful glass itself is made by skilled craftsmen, how it can be painted or engraved to add details personal to the client and her slides showed examples of the work in situ in the client's homes, with the sun shining through the glass to show it in its true glory. It's a very precise skill, working with tolerances of 1mm and must require a lot of patience and good eyesight!  Aileen also makes glass jewellery.

Aileen's website is

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Remembering Janetta

Sadly our dear friend and member Janetta Armstrong died last month, and her sister Marjory brought in a display of her work. Janetta was a talented and versatile stitcher and also a painter, and was an active and enthusiastic member of the club.  She will be much missed by everyone, and our sympathies go to her sister at this time.

The Summer Break is Over

Our program started off on September 7th with a tea for all our members, provided by the excellent bakers on the Committee - watch out Bake Off! A table was set up with some of the work the busy hands have been creating during the summer, some pictures of which see below. Apologies for some of the reflections in the glass.
We finished with a fiendish quiz of stitch anagrams, only one group managed to complete all the questions.